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Ladder Ranch CBC 12/29/10

Due to an impending storm front, the count had to be moved up a day, resulting in the loss of about half our counters. We were still able to cover most areas within the count circle. Sparrow numbers rebounded from a crash the previous year and our species diversity (91) was mid way between that of the first two count years. A number of species not previously recorded on the count put in an appearance including Common Merganser, House Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Orange-crowned Warbler, Northern Cardinal, and three new sparrows-White-throated, Swamp, and American Tree. (We have now recorded 20 species of sparrows all time on the ranch). Our count team ended the day with a close encounter with a group of 7 Montezuma Quail (that we drove by at first!) quietly feeding by the side of the road. Always a thrill to get to see these elusive birds up close. Numbers of all three species of quail on the ranch have been up due to increased seed production.

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